Published On: Thursday, 31 May 2018

Big Data - Big Trouble or Big Opportunity?

Big Data - Big Trouble or Big Opportunity?

TOURISM - As we watch the world unfold around the Big Data and the use of technology to track our every move, the debate will continue to swirl with companies like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat as well as businesses we don’t think of as collecting our information such as Uber or even SkipTheDishes.

There is no question in today’s world that all that we do, and even don’t do, is being tracked, analyzed and used to market to us in ways we had never imagined.

We have long been romanced by our cell phones and iPads which through the magic of apps have helped to provide us with everything from our favourite songs, to maps, even recipes, all the while storing data that was painting a picture of us in the background.  The resulting marketing intelligence and predictive indexing has enabled organizations to serve us up advertising and messaging tailored to our needs, wants and interests.

The question becomes when this kind of intelligence is used for “good” instead of “evil”, how much of an issue does this tracking really create.

For myself, I would far prefer to be provided with a selection of information based on my personal preferences. Imagine the idea of watching television or listening to radio that only offered up commercials based on what your interest are.  You might actually read, listen to or watch the commercial and the advertiser could much more effectively spend their resources.

Obviously, the line between market intelligence and market manipulation such as the discussion currently taking place around election tampering is something we should all be concerned about.

However, in this time when we truly have a new Information Age upon us, let’s not be too quick to condemn Big Data, but rather find appropriate ways to regulate and control its use to the mutual benefit of all.

Glenn Mandziuk is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Region. He can be reached at ceo@totabc.com